New Stars Add to Excitement at Southern Section Championships

For the most part, across the five enrollment-based divisions, results from the Southern Section held to form according to rankings, predictions, history and warm-up races like the previous week's prelims.

But there were a few surprises, as new stars somewhat unexpectedly emerged as the first to make that final turn into the 150-or-so-meter sprint to victory. 

The Southern Section advances to the Nov. 25 CIF-State Championships seven teams per division, boys and girls, and the top 5 individuals on non-qualifying teams who place in the top 20 overall. The full allotment of individuals was reached. 

Overall, Temecula Great Oak, the section's most dominant program, boys and girls, breezed to another dual Division 1 championship, as did Malibu junior Claudia Lane, the defending section, state and national champion, in her Division 4 race. 

Flintridge Prep senior Evan Pattinelli repeated as the boys D5 champion, the fifth consecutive FP boy to win the D5 title. 

Rubidoux junior Kevin Ramos, a year after placing second to senior teammate Erik Gonzalez, the eventual state champion, grabbed a D3 title of his own, pretty much unchallenged. That is also the best way to describe JSerra sophomore Anthony Grover's breeze to the D4 title, and Capistrano Valley senior Haley Herberg's cruise to the girls D2 title.

The girls D1 race may have been the most compelling storyline, with two-time champion Chloe Arriaga and course record-holder Lauren Peurifoy going out at 16-minute pace but eventually being reeled in by another junior, Great Oak's Fatima Cortes, who blew past the two favorites with about a mile to go and held on for a stunning victory that shattered the course record Peurifoy had set a week earlier. 

While that race may be the most memorable, it is the stunned reaction of D5 winner Village Christian freshman Mia Barnett, as captured by our photographer Lizette Adams, that tells the entire story.

Here's a division-by-division breakdown with results and State Meet qualifiers: